Big Bash cricket is set to return to Manuka Oval for the first time since the KFC BBL|04 Final, when Sydney Thunder take on the Melbourne Renegades as part of an expanded season that will see each team play two additional games.
Thunder will continue to play four KFC BBL|07 fixtures at Spotless Stadium, with their fifth home game taking place in the nation’s capital on Wednesday 24 January 2018, alongside a Rebel Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) fixture against the same opposition.
Sydney Thunder General Manager Lee Germon believes the club’s footprint in the area will be further strengthened by taking both BBL and WBBL action to the ACT and Regional NSW.
"I’m very excited about hosting a match at Manuka Oval,” said Sydney Thunder General Manager Lee Germon.
"ACT and Regional NSW has been a focus and a key Thunder market since the inception of the club, with a large number of community initiatives already being held in the region.
“The opportunity to maintain the four BBL matches at Spotless while also taking a match to Canberra means we can continue to provide Thunder Big Bash matches to our loyal Spotless fans and also bring the Thunder match experience to our ACT community.
"It goes without saying that this match would not be possible without the support of the ACT Government, Visit Canberra and Cricket Australia."
Sydney Thunder will continue to build on its community activities in the region, with the Meteors Girls Cricket League being renamed the Thunder Girls Cricket League for Under 13’s and Under 17’s, a Canberra based round of Thunder’s multicultural tournament the Thunder Nation Cup and a male and female player from the ACT and Regional NSW will be selected to train with the BBL and WBBL sides ahead of the season.
Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager of Events and Leagues, Anthony Everard was excited to welcome back the Big Bash to Canberra for the upcoming season.
“Canberra is such a passionate Cricket market and we’re excited to be able to bring the BBL to Canberra again and also the WBBL for the first time, particularly with the response shown when we hosted the BBL 04 Final here. We applaud the Thunder for their leadership shown to grow the game and expand our fan base beyond traditional markets and demographics and also thank the ACT Government for their support.
“This is designed to drive cricket’s strategy to ultimately continue to be Australia’s favourite sport and a sport for all Australians.
“A club-by-club approach has been taken to determine the most appropriate location to host this additional fixture, taking into account aspects including existing contractual obligations, participation and fan growth opportunities, and venue infrastructure."
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr believes the fixtures would provide another example of the region’s passion for major sporting events.
“Our investment to bring world class cricket to Canberra on a regular basis has been well received by the community, and we were keen to ensure that Canberrans had an opportunity this summer to come out to Manuka Oval to watch some of the best cricket stars in the world,” said ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
"We have worked with Cricket Australia, Cricket NSW and Cricket ACT to bring the Thunder to Canberra, and I'm confident the match will be hugely popular.
“We’ve demonstrated success hosting the Cricket World Cup, the Big Bash Final and regular international matches in the past, and we’re excited to bring the Big Bash League back to Canberra.”
Sydney Thunder sold out all four games at Spotless Stadium in BBL|06 and set a club record of 6,040 Members, next season’s memberships are set to go on sale this Monday with a two game memberships available from $50, including access the Manuka Oval fixtures.